From the sherbet hues of the Greek island villa in Mamma Mia! to the backdrop of the Jazz Age in Midnight in Paris, movie locations are designed evoke a mood and feel that transport us. And some of us want nothing more than to stay there—or at least recreate the look we fell in love with on screen. Popular blog Design*Sponge capitalizes on that impulse by finding and featuring décor and clothing items that replicate the look of movies that are particularly successful in creating a delectable ambiance.
Stacia and John Lynch of Victoria went one better when they fell under the spell of a movie kitchen: the Hamptons beach house in Something’s Gotta Give, the Diane Keaton-Jack Nicholson comedy of middle-age romance. That kitchen’s classic look and open design inspired the Lynches’ remodel, as did Stacia’s functional requirements. “I love to cook, so I needed a cooking-friendly kitchen,” she says. She also wanted to be able to work and still remain part of the action with the rest of the family and gatherings of friends.
Liz Schupanitz of Casa Verde Design in Minneapolis, who designed the Lynch kitchen, had an advantage going in. “I cook a lot myself,” she says. “I know the [design] rules, but I also have a good feel for what you need to have handy while you work.” Clearly, she does: Her revamp of the Lynch kitchen won two first-place awards in this year’s competition among kitchen and bath designers in the Minnesota chapter of the National Kitchen & Bath Association.
To create a workspace that would allow the cook to be part of the action in the nearby family room and echo the design of the Something’s Gotta Give space, Schupanitz eliminated the small island and casual dining area of the old kitchen, replacing them with a large island with seating for five (the Lynches and their three children). “Stacia wanted people to be able to sit around the island, so we must have done six or seven versions of that island to make sure it was the right scale for the room and met her needs.” They hit on the right formula with a design that divides the island in two: The table portion extends into the old dining space, while the prep area closest to the stove holds bookshelves, a 24-inch recycling cabinet, and pullouts designed for spices and oil and vinegar.
In the layout of the old kitchen, clearances between the island and the cooktop and sink walls were inadequate. Schupanitz reworked the space to give Stacia a roomy 48 inches between the island and stove and 42 inches between the sink and island. She also redesigned a tiny desk area and walk-in pantry placed around an awkward, slanted wall, and created dual pantries with roll-out drawers on either side of the refrigerator and a desk area large enough for the kids to do homework.
To further open up the space and better connect it visually to the adjacent two-story family room, Schupanitz brought the cabinetry up to the ceiling, removed the dated step-up to the old window behind the sink, and extended the countertop to the new, larger picture window. She also added cabinet and counterspace by extending both to the patio door.
The Lynches’ 1998 maple kitchen got a classic makeover with a backsplash of white subway tile, white-painted custom cabinetry (Simply White by Benjamin Moore), and floors stained medium brown. The dark countertops on the island and the perimeter cabinetry (also similar to the kitchen in the movie) are black granite gneiss, honed to capture the look and feel of soapstone.
The result: A Hamptons-style space that is classic, comfy, and family friendly. “Now our family tends to gather here,” says Stacia. “Especially on weekends. The kids sit here, do homework, and hang out.”
By Chris Lee
Photos by Andrea Rugg
Interior Design: Casa Verde Design